Spatiotemporal variations of nitrogen isotopic records in the Arabian Sea
Abstract. Available reports of dissolved oxygen, δ15N of nitrate (δ 15NNO3) and δ15N of total nitrogen (δ15Nbulk) for trap material and surface/downcore sediments from the Arabian Sea (AS) were synthesized to explore the AS' past nitrogen dynamics. Based on 25 μmol kg−1 dissolved oxygen isopleth at a depth of 150 m, we classified all reported data into northern and southern groups. By using δ15Nbulk of the sediments, we obtained geographically distinctive bottom-depth effects for the northern and southern AS at different climate stages. After eliminating the bias caused by bottom depth, the modern-day sedimentary δ15Nbulk values largely reflect the δ15NNO3 supply from the bottom of the euphotic zone. Additionally to the data set, nitrogen and carbon contents vs. their isotopic compositions of a sediment core (SK177/11) collected from the most southeastern part of the AS were measured for comparison. We found a one-step increase in δ15Nbulk starting at the deglaciation with a corresponding decrease in δ13CTOC similar to reports elsewhere revealing a global coherence. By synthesizing and reanalyzing all reported down core δ15Nbulk, we derived bottom-depth correction factors at different climate stages, respectively, for the northern and southern AS. The diffusive sedimentary δ15Nbulk values in compiled cores became confined after bias correction revealing a more consistent pattern except recent 6 ka. Such high similarity to the global temporal pattern indicates that the nitrogen cycle in the entire AS had responded to open-ocean changes until 6 ka BP. Since 6 ka BP, further enhanced denitrification (i.e., increase in δ15Nbulk) in the northern AS had occurred and was likely driven by monsoon, while, in the southern AS, we observed a synchronous reduction in δ15Nbulk, implying that nitrogen fixation was promoted correspondingly as the intensification of local denitrification at the northern AS basin.